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June 10, 2021

UoP turns to blame game as staff names leaked for alleged victimisation

June 10, 2021

PESHAWAR: Instead of resolving the genuine issues faced by the teaching and non-teaching staff of the University of Peshawar, the management of the institution has got engaged in blame game as names of a number of professors and administrative officers were leaked to a media house to allegedly victimize them for holding the protest and seeking resignation from the vice-chancellor.

The development has caused unrest to the staff, who have announced to move court and serve defamation suit on the university administration and the media house concerned which aired and published the story based on mere allegations against them which they believed was one-sided.

Those accused in the report included sitting and former presidents of Peshawar University Teachers Association, the current president of administrative staff association of the university and others.

The list also carries some names of those who have remained very close to the present vice-chancellor during his several month stay as head of the most prestigious university of the province so far.

Sources told The News that the university administration was frustrated after the protest drive launched by the staff in support of the demands. It merits a mention here that the protest had been actually called by the Federation of All Pakistan Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) of which PUTA is merely a member.

The most annoying for the university administration was the demand seeking removal of the vice-chancellor.

In order to teach lessons to the leaders and some prominent characters of the protest drive, the management asked its most trusted and reliable official to come up with the list of such professors and officers having allegations against them, a source told The News.

The official declined to do so saying that such allegations were leveled against all and sundry and no action was taken on the basis of mere allegations. Then an associate professor from the Pharmacy Department and a deputy treasurer of the university were given the task to formulate a list.

The two then allegedly cooked up a list of all those who were in the bad books of the university administration. They also allegedly did personal likes and dislikes, while forming the list and inserted names of professors and officers who they didn’t like.

The official, who allegedly refused to toe the line of the administration, also had to bear the brunt and his name, too, was inserted in the list though he is known for his honesty and competence even among his staunch opponents.

Interestingly, no such allegation has been leveled against the majority of the names given in the list and only their names and designations are mentioned. Some allegations have been written against the names of the officers and professors.

The list comprises of a total of 30 professors and officers. They include five women and at least one senior retired professor, who have served as vice-chancellor of several universities, including the University of Peshawar and has made contributions to the institutions.

Some of the accused have been referred as having “invalid PhD degrees” which is something very serious an allegation as they majority of them have done their doctorate from the University of Peshawar, which follows a very tough procedure.

One of the key characters behind formulation of the list is allegedly the acting registrar of the university, Saifullah, according to sources.

The official was allegedly found guilty of creating a mess in the university when he was provost and the parliamentary committee had asked the university administration to avoid promoting him and assigning him an administrative position.

But the present administration elevated him to the office of registrar. It also merits a mention here that the office of registrar is officially vacant and he himself is a candidate for the office, which is a blatant violation of the laws pertaining to conflict of interest.

Vice-chancellor Dr Mohammad Idrees rejected any role in framing and feeding the so-called list to the media. “I and my team have no role in highlighting the list,” he said when contacted by The News.

He said some inquiries had already been conducted by the Provincial Inspection Team (PIT) and a list was there with the Higher Education Department, which the department had announced to take up in the university’s Senate. “The administration has nothing to do with the list. We have been repeatedly requesting these teachers to attend their classes,” he said.

There is a grouping among teachers and they too level allegations against each other, he said. Some complaints were made on the citizen portal and they started an inquiry against three professors on the basis of those reports, he added.

“Soon after the commencement of the inquiries, they launched the protest drive and brought teachers from the whole country to the University of Peshawar,” he said.

Dr Idrees said that he had not elevated Saifullah as registrar and he was performing the responsibility on an acting basis being additional registrar of the university. He said that when he took charge as vice-chancellor, Dr Yurid Ahsan Zia was the registrar but a number of complaints were lodged against him that it was in violation of the Article 17(a) of the Universities Act. Therefore, they had to take charge from Dr Yurid.

Dr Idrees added that the posts of registrar and treasurer had been advertised and the process for their appointment was underway when the provincial government directed the university not to appoint registrar and treasurer. “In such a situation, we had no choice but to run the university affairs as per the book. And the book allows the additional registrar to serve as registrar till arrival of the regular officer”, he said.